3 Count: Christmas in June

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1: Mariah Carey Sued Over Copyright on Mega-Hit “All I Want for Christmas Is You”

First off today, Helen Ray at CBS News reports that Mariah Carey is being sued for $20 million over her hit holiday song All I want for Christmas is You.

The lawsuit was filed by musician Andy Stone, known artistically as Vince Vance and the Valiants, accusing Carey of infringing a song he wrote of the same name before hers was released. According to stone, he wrote his version of the song in 1989, and it began to receive “extensive airplay” in 1993, but that its momentum was halted in 1994 when Carey released her version.

Though the two songs share the same name, they are very different in every other respect. Carey’s has gone on to top the Billboard charts every holiday season, earning her an estimated $60 million in royalties. Carey has not responded to the lawsuit.

2: YouTube and Uploaded Could be Liable For Pirating Users, Court Rules

Next up today, Ernesto Van der Sar at Torrentfreak writes that the German Federal Court of Justice has ruled that platforms such as YouTube and Uploaded can be held liable for pirating users if they fail to take adequate action to stop piracy.

The ruling deals with a series of cases in Germany that accuse platforms of enabling piracy. This led to questions about whether such platforms were engaging in “communication to the public” of infringing material. The German court asked for guidance from the Court of Justice of the European Union, which said such that such systems were not directly liable but could still be held liable if they failed to “expeditiously” remove infringing content after a rightsholder notice.

As a result, many of these cases are now heading back to the lower courts to analyze the actions taken by YouTube and others and see if they were sufficient to avoid this liability. This will be done on a case-by-case basis, but is still likely a major loss for those platforms who, until this, had enjoyed fairly broad protection from actions by their users.

3: Biggie Smalls Estate Says Photographer’s Copyright is Irrelevant

Finally today, Matt Growcoot at PetaPixel reports that the estate of photographer Chi Modu is facing a lawsuit from the estate of the rapper Notorious B.I.G. after Modu released various pieces of merchandise featuring photos that he took of the artist when he was alive.

Modu captured many of the most famous photos of Notorious B.I.G., including one photo of him in front of the World Trade Center in 1996. According to the plaintiffs, the fact that Modu holds a copyright in the images is irrelevant, as they are claiming the use of the images violates their rights to Notorious B.I.G.’s likeness and image.

However, Modu’s wife (Chi Modu died last year) argues that this was not an issue until he tried to get a larger licensing fee for the use of the photos and that the lawsuit is retaliation for that. Modu further argues that their copyright interest in the work is the relevant issues in this case. The judge in the case has urged both parties to consider mediation to resolve the conflict.

The 3 Count Logo was created by Justin Goff and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License.

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